"Justice Kagan said she could not understand why the Orleans Parish District Attorney’s Office persisted in defending its conduct. “Did your office ever consider just confessing error in this case?” she asked.

Justice Sotomayor made a broader point about the office, which has repeatedly been found to have violated Brady v. Maryland, the 1963 Supreme Court decision that requires prosecutors to turn over favorable evidence to the defense.

“There have been serious accusations against the practices of your office, not yours in particular, but prior ones,” Justice Sotomayor said. “It is disconcerting to me that when I asked you the question directly, should this material have been turned over, you gave an absolute no.”

“That’s really troubling,” Justice Sotomayor added."



PUBLISHER'S NOTE: : This blog is particularly interested in the Juan Smith case because of the deplorable record of the Orlean's Parish District Attorney's office in disclosing exculpatory evidence to the accused - including important forensic evidence. In the John Thompson case, after Thompson had been put on death row a private investigator hired by his lawyer found a blood test in the police lab that showed the man wanted for a related carjacking had type B blood, while Thompson's was type O. Thompson had been charged with and convicted of an attempted carjacking near the Superdome as a prelude to charging him with the unsolved murder of a hotel executive. The newly revealed blood test spared Thompson's life, and a judge ordered a new trial on the murder charge that had sent him to death row. His new defense lawyers found other evidence that had been hidden, including eyewitnesses reports. Bystanders reported seeing a man who was 6 feet tall with close-cropped hair running away holding a gun. Thompson was 5 feet 8 and had a bushy Afro. With the new eyewitness reports and other evidence that pointed to another man as the killer, Thompson was quickly acquitted of all the charges in a second trial. (Information from the L.A. Times); I find it hard to imagine worse prosecutorial misconduct than withholding key exculpatory forensic evidence from a person facing the death penalty if convicted (as in the Thompson case) - or holding back from the defence information that a crucial eyewitness had made conflicting statements (as in the Juan Smith case); For shame.


"WASHINGTON — Donna R. Andrieu, an assistant district attorney in New Orleans, had the unenviable task at the Supreme Court on Tuesday of defending her office’s conduct in withholding evidence from a criminal defendant. She made the least of it," the New York Times story by reporter Adam Liptak published on November 8, 2011 begins, under the heading, "Judges rebuke a new Orleans prosecutor."